A flower grows from rocky ground. The leaves are shaped to form the handicapped symbol

Yes, I Am Disabled

Yes, I am disabled.

I’ve always envisioned myself as a strong, capable, and independent person. I always told myself that I was never going to let my cystic fibrosis (CF) take control of my life and that I was going to live my life as I wanted and do the things that I wanted to do like every other person.

I soon learned that while mentally I was always those things, my body slowly but surely started to become the opposite of what I always envisioned. As I became an adult, my cystic fibrosis grew in its own way to be the forefront of my life. I had to come to terms that I am, as my doctors put it, disabled.

No hiding my CF

I could no longer work, and I was no longer independent. That reality was devastating to me because I fought so hard to be strong and be healthy for so long and for it to be taken away from me was ripping me apart inside.

Cystic fibrosis became my life because while it was a part of my every day before, this was different. It went from being something I hid to something that became my life and I could no longer hide.

I can’t hide when I am on oxygen, I can’t hide when I use my walker and I cannot hide the fact that I cannot be left alone anymore.

While I am independent in my own way, it's not like before where I could run errands and even just take a walk. Now I need someone with me because most times I struggle to walk by myself. I get tired too easily and I need help with shopping because my body hurts. I get out of breath so fast that some things just become such a challenge.

Strength in my disability

CF has changed my life and I became disabled. That scared me because I thought it meant I was weak and yes, sick and I did not want pity from anyone or have anyone look down on me. I was wrong because I found my strength in my disability, I found that through my struggles and physical challenges that I am stronger than I ever imagined.

Yes, I need help and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with the way I have had to adjust because I actually found something special, I found a new me. I used to look in the mirror and feel sorry for myself because I got so sick, but it's not my fault and it's not something I can control. I did everything I was supposed to but CF is CF. It progresses differently in everyone, and I had to really learn that.

I had to learn that disability doesn’t mean that I am weak or any less of a person than anyone else. It means that I am a warrior who fights for her life every day. It means that my scars from surgeries are my own battle scars because they carry a different moment and experience in my life with CF. And it means that I am still here fighting.

I am stronger than I ever thought I was before.

Differently abled

My disability has become in its own way my superhero cape and I am proud of how far I’ve come in my life and in my CF journey, I will never be ashamed to say that I am disabled because there’s nothing wrong with that word or with me, I am just differently abled and that’s perfect.

What parts of living with CF make you feel strong? Let us know in the comments!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Cystic-Fibrosis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you taken our Cystic Fibrosis In America Survey yet?